The Ship by Antonia Honeywell

In a world ravaged by ecological disaster and ruled by digital tyranny, a father buys and stocks a ship so that his daughter can live in ease and comfort among 500 specially selected people, out of reach of the collapse of civilized society. Are the girl and her mother really on board with this whole plan, though? Read The Ship to find out what’s in store for those on the ark.

Or don’t. Personally, I can’t recommend it. See below for why.

The Ship vs City of Ember

The premise—that some kind of refuge has been created to shelter a group of humans from the end of the world—reminded me of Jeanne DuPrau’s City of Ember. However, what the two authors do with that premise is completely different! I like City of Ember (and its 2008 movie adaptation) a lot better. DuPrau’s protagonist is a hardworking, resourceful tween who solves a mystery and leads a revolution; Honeywell’s is an entitled teen without a practical bone in her body. The Ship is no adventure, merely a book-length first-person rumination about the protagonist’s inability (or unwillingness) to belong, even in a community created especially for her.

The Ship on its own merits (or lack thereof)

While I was reading The Ship, I was intensely curious where the plot was going, what the main character was going to learn from her experiences, and what the author’s view of the ark was. Initially, the girl feels a strong responsibility towards those left behind, dying, on the mainland. Is that how the author thinks she should feel, or is her idealism naive? You have to finish the whole book to find out, so that’s what I did. I was rewarded only with stark disappointment. Online reviews reveal that I’m not alone in liking the premise but disliking the main character and the ending. Caveat emptor.

When and why I read The Ship

Read and recommended by a book club friend whose recommendations, incidentally, I am still open to considering; serendipity is always hit and miss!

Genre: fiction (young-adult, dystopian)
Date started / date finished:  21-Oct-18 to 26-Oct-18
Length: 321 pages
Originally published in: 2015
Amazon link: The Ship